Friday, September 29, 2006

Kaydee Caine: Rest in Peace

When will I ever learn to stay away from movies that make me cry?

I remember seeing Menace II Society in the bargain theatre a few months after it was released. At 23, my only exposure to black culture consisted of hip hop music (I could frequently be seen shakin' my white ass to Soul II Soul in the privacy of my living room) and a few African-American acquaintances. I was naive, at best, and knew only of the Watts area of Los Angeles from an American History class, where the 1965 riots were mentioned casually, in passing.

Watching Menace for the first time was like getting punched in the gut. I had never heard people talk like that. I had never seen people die like that, or fight like that. LIVE like that. Was it real? I knew enough to understand that movies sensationalize and oversimplify. I think I told someone later that I liked Boyz N The Hood better. On many levels, I still do. But, Boyz didn't make me cry. I didn't connect emotionally with the characters, and it lacked a clear protagonist. In Kaydee, I found an anchor. When he fell, I fell. I was lost. I wanted to reach through the screen and take it all back, reverse time, scoop up that little boy in the red footie pajamas and just hold him til it all went away. That feeling was even stronger for me this time around. It's been 13 years since I saw that movie, and the tears seemed to come even easier. Shit, maybe it's because I'm a mother, now. Maybe I'm premenstrual. But Tyrin Turner will remain immortal for the humanity he brought to Caine.

And of course, we also have the Hughes Brothers to thank, too. I continue to be a fan of their work, especially the 1999 documentary American Pimp.I had to watch it twice, because the first time I was too shocked to pay as much attention as was warranted to really "get" it. Let's not forget From Hell, which was inspired by the comic of the same name, a collaboration from Alan Moore & Eddie Campbell.

And hey, you can't go wrong with a lollipop like Johnny Depp.


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